Shipping and Delivery 101. A guide to optimising your delivery experience

Shipping and delivery are important parts of doing business online. These are the concluding parts of many online purchases and quite likely the experiences that will be remembered the most by our customers. An enjoyable and seamless transaction online can easily be ruined by a disorganised or mismanaged delivery experience. Hence, it is very important that shipments go smoothly and deliveries occur without any issues if possible.

At Terminal Africa, one of our goals is to make shipping and delivery more accessible for businesses across Africa, so today will be giving a short guide on the rights and wrong as well as tips that could help you avoid complications.

1. Packaging:
How you package and label your items for delivery plays a huge role in how your delivery will go. Using the wrong packages can make shipping it more expensive (i.e. if it’s unnecessarily heavy) or cause your item to be damaged in transit (i.e. if it’s too light).

The kind of packaging you use should depend on what you’re planning to send. If you’re sending items that aren’t easily damaged (clothes, books, etc.) you may want to consider lighter flexible nylon packaging. However, if you’re sending valuable or fragile items (gifts, electronics, glass etc.) that can be damaged, bent or broken you’re better off using a studier package like cardboard boxing. If you're unsure where to get the right kind of packaging items you can contact us here, we'll be happy to help out.

2. Waybills (International Shipments):
For international shipments, it is mandatory that you clearly and accurately describe the item being shipped in the way bill. This could help the delivery companies in easily tracking your package and prevent it from getting lost in transit.

Failure to label your accurately or including false information in your waybill will result in your shipment being confiscated and your account being banned. A properly labelled waybill should include at least 30 characters (5-6 words) describing the items being transported. Be specific as possible including the value, weight, color and condition of the item.

3. Couriers:
With regards to couriers to choose, each courier service on Terminal Africa has its advantages / disadvantages depending on your budget, timeframe and where you’re shipping too.

If you’re after fast delivery within Lagos and not too fussed about pricing, Kwik Delivery and GIGL are your best bet. Carriers like Topship, Sendstack, also offer affordable rates and should deliver your packages within 24 hours. Brands like Fedex / Redstar, Sendbox and DHL offer some of the cheapest rates for local deliveries on Terminal but they take longer to complete the shipments.

For Nationwide deliveries at an affordable rate couriers like  GIGL and Fedex are great options. Although, the latter might have a longer delivery time frame. Other companies like Topship, Sendbox & DHL might be better options in terms of delivery times but they will charge much higher.

For international shipments, DHL, Topship and Sendbox are your best options in terms of both pricing and delivery times.

In a separate blog post, we talk about what you should do after successfully arranging a delivery, you can read more about it here. We also have another upcoming blog post where we discuss a bit about import duties, levies and what to expect when making certain international purchases.

Stay tuned!